Cliff Joseph sees the Swedes top the People's Choice multimedia awards
Last week, the US software company Macromedia hosted its first European Developers Conference. Macromedia's Director is the leading program used to create multimedia titles, and the three-day conference attracted more than 500 developers.

Each developer was able to vote in the People's Choice awards that took place on the last day of the conference. Nearly 200 titles were submitted in the six award categories, with the 19 finalists on display throughout the three-day conference. "We were amazed at the number of nominations," said Macromedia's Jacki Allen. "And there were lots of good titles, even from smaller European countries."

There was strong support from the UK contingent for The Ultimate Soccer CD-Rom, produced by Plus Two Communications and nominated for Best Entertainment Title. It is a soccer fan's dream, with 25 years' worth of football statistics and player profiles, as well as more than 100 video clips from famous matches. Unfortunately, we were pipped at the post by Sweden's DayDream Software, with its SafeCracker game.

Safecracker was an overnight success story for designer Jorgen Isaksson. He got the idea for it in a dream, woke up and scribbled it down on a cigarette packet, then took it to Warner Bros, which financed the project.

It was a good day for the Swedes all round, as Safecracker also won the Overall People's Choice award, while another Swedish company picked up an award in the Corporate Training category.

Germany won the Best Education Title with Opera Fatal, an encyclopaedia of classical music. The Brits finally got a look-in with the Online award. Bizarrely, this went to the Norwich Union's Web site, designed by Icon Graphics in Norwich. The home page for this site looks more like a children's game than a corporate Web site.

The awards showed that European multimedia developers can match their US counterparts in all areas but one; the only disappointment was the 3D Animation award. Europeans don't seem to have the hang of 3D yet, and few nominations meant that the category was dropped. "It was a shame," said Allen, "but perhaps next year we'll get into 3D".

Comments